Thursday, October 30, 2008

I Wanna Be a Swimmin' Pickle!!

Imagine a small child standing on the side of a swimming pool. It's the first day of swimming lessons. This child has big dreams of one day becoming an Olympic swimmer and winning the gold medal! He desperately wants to learn how to swim, so his parent's have arranged private lessons with the USA Swimming Coach! He can hardly contain his enthusiasm...he's dancing around, giddy with excitement! The coach is already in the pool, ready for the lessons to begin. But when the coach calls the child into the water, instead of jumping in, the child just stands there wringing his hands and talking to himself. The coach can hear him say, "Oh, I want to be a gweat swimmuh! I want to be the best! I want my coach to be so pwoud! I want him to pick me to be the captain of the team!" The coach knows that this child has potential, and if he would simply obey, he would actually do well. So the coach tries to get the child's attention again, but to no avail. This time the child is heard saying, "This doesn't make any sense! Why can't I lun how to swim?? I'm at the pool! I wish he would huwwy up and teach me somethin'!" The coach is starting to get a little frustrated, but attempts one more time to get the child's attention, calling out his name. Still nothing. The child is still talking to himself. He's still wanting to learn how to swim, but his excitement is fading while the disappointment & frustration is growing that he just can't swim and doesn't understand why!?

Sounds crazy, doesn't it? In order to become a great swimmer, first he would have to at least get in the water! Secondly, he would need to spend lots of time in the pool-watching, listening & following his coach's instructions. Would he ever make it to the Olympics if he were to only commit to 10 minutes of practice & only on the days when it's convenient and fits in his schedule? He would never reach his goal, would he?

That's how it is with us as Christians. We want to be transformed and renewed. We long to grow closer to Christ. We yearn to know Him more. We desire to be filled to overflowing with the fruit of His Spirit and for others to see Christ when they look at our lives. Yet we're not willing to spend time with our Coach. Instead of diving into the Living Water of His Word on a daily basis, we stand on the side of the pool, dipping our toes in every now and then by reading a Psalm or Proverb for the day...occasionally jumping in for an extended swim by spending a few minutes in prayer, before getting out again to run off to other things that clamor for our attention while our coach is left waiting in the pool. And then when we don't see His fruit being produced in our lives, we wonder why?

Jesus tells us in John 15:4 to remain in Him. He says, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

I'm not saying that by spending time with Jesus, we'll begin to produce the fruit on our own-we cannot. We're just branches. We are the fruit bearer's. But we do have to choose to remain in Christ by reading His word, spending time with Him in prayer, and then He will bring about the desired results, transforming us to be more like Him.

I know a cucumber is not a fruit, but I read recently about the process of turning cucumbers into pickles. It's a really neat word picture in relation to who we are in Christ. You can't dip a cucumber in the brine and expect immediate changes, if any (much like taking a dip in the swimming pool for 10 minutes and expecting to come out an Olympic medalist). It takes continual soaking, and yet once the changes take place, it will never be the same-it can never revert back to it's previous state of a cucumber. It has a different texture, flavor, purpose & name. We too as Christians need to be continually soaking our hearts and minds in His word. When He gets done with us, we'll look pretty much the same on the outside, but the inside will be radically different!

Anybody willing to take the plunge into some Living Water today? I don't want to be a cucumber anymore-I wanna be a swimmin' pickle! :)

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